There is often a perceived gap between who we think we are and who we wish we could be. The tension between these two imaginary concepts provokes all sorts of distress. Tolle succinctly describes stress as “being ‘here’ and wanting to be ‘there’.”
A lot of the pain and suffering that arises from emotional distress is caused by a kind of fragmentation of who we believe ourselves to be. Deep huh? Too deep for a Tuesday morning I hear you say? Bear with me..
From my own personal experience and witnessing those of parents at Smile and in the wider world there are fundamental themes that underpin our sense of wellbeing. A big one is the notion of separation and isolation. It’s a lonely place when you are floundering at something you believe should ‘come naturally’ or be ‘the happiest of times’. Fear has a funny habit of breeding silence and silence shrouds us in towers that confine us – our world gets smaller while the disconnect with others only appears to expand.
The thing is – despite the conditioning, the stigma, the pressure and the ideology that appears to bind us, the limitations are actually illusory. Thinking is intangible, which is kinda dangerous because it’s invisible but it’s still pretty potent. What we have overlooked, however, is that thoughts aren’t facts. We don’t have to buy into them. We can just let them ride on by.
All of the stuff that divides us and makes us feel small starts to dissolve away when we come together, either metaphorically or in person. After seven years of involvement with Smile I am more and more convinced that peer support (when safe, supported and well delivered) is love in motion. There is something so special when people come together – they step forward in honesty and with immense courage to say ‘This is hard and I’m not sure I can handle it’.
I have watched so many parents emerge from anxious, bone-tired, vulnerable places to slowly become stronger, confident and more comfortable in their own skins. Why is that?
When we come together, with wobbly bold steps, unsure of what might happen but open to possibility, we dismantle the walls that once kept us in solitude. We open our minds and our hearts to a shared experience that reminds us that there is incredible strength in vulnerability.
In that naked honesty and truth we begin to realise that there is no need to want to be elsewhere because, actually, we are just fine with being right ‘here’.
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